Media release: Women in Journalism Scotland launch the Nicola Barry Award


SCOTLAND’S new organisation for women in media has launched an award celebrating one of our country’s finest female writers.

The Nicola Barry Award, which aims to encourage the kind of brilliant reporting and campaigning journalism that the award-winning columnist and feature writer was known for, was launched by Barry’s husband, Alastair Murray.

Murray made the announcement at Women in Journalism Scotland’s end-of-summer party on Thursday 28 September, at EY, 5 George Square, Glasgow, G2 1DY.

The winner will receive a trophy, presented at the Scottish Press Awards dinner next spring. A WiJ Scotland member will be part of the judging panel.

Nicola Barry was one of Scotland’s most successful and best known journalists and authors, driven by a passion to help the underdog and to give a voice to those who had none. She died in January 2017, at the age of 66.

The award rounds off a hugely successful first year for Women in Journalism Scotland, the new networking, campaigning, training and social organisation open to women journalists at all ages and stages of their careers who work across all the written, broadcast and new media in Scotland.

The award marks WiJ Scotland’s commitment to encouraging and supporting more women writers like Nicola Barry.

Shelley Jofre, BBC Scotland’s health correspondent and co-chair of WiJ Scotland, said: “The unveiling of this new Award rounds off an amazing first year for WIJ Scotland.

“Since our launch by the First Minister last November, our membership continues to grow. We’ve had a series of successful events over the year aimed at helping boost the skills and confidence of women journalists across Scotland.

“With our continuing ‘Stronger Voice for Women on Air’ training, we are creating an easy-to-access database of women experts we hope will become the essential go-to guide for all broadcasters in Scotland.

“The aim is to banish once and for all the dreaded ‘manel’ of experts where women’s voices are scandalously absent.

“As recent research by our sister organisation, WIJ in London, has found, there’s still plenty of work to do.

“We may make up half the population but the vast majority of front page news stories in UK newspapers are still written by men; on average two-thirds of senior jobs are still done by men.

“And a light has finally been shone on the unjustifiable gender pay gap that persists across press and broadcasting.

“As an organisation, we will continue to lobby for change and, most importantly, offer support for women journalists at every stage of their career.”

Launching the award, Barry’s husband, Alastair Murray, said: “One editor told me that my wife was the greatest feature writer of her generation and I do not think anyone in the world of Scottish journalism would disagree with that.”

John McLellan, director of the Scottish Newspaper Society, said: “Nicola was a very special talent and her particular empathy for the dispossessed, vulnerable and excluded came out in everything she wrote.

“The SNS is delighted to be working with Women in Journalism to encourage new female writers and to keep Nicola’s memory alive.”


Notes for editors:

Women in Journalism Scotland represents women in Scotland at every stage of their careers, across print, broadcast, online and digital media and communications and PR work.

Membership is £20 per year (£10 per year unwaged). Members are entitled to discounts for WIJS events and will be kept up-to-date with all of our campaigning, training and networking activities. For further information go to

The Nicola Barry Award will be open to all women journalists of any age working in print and online media in Scotland deserving of recognition for their work in issue-led reportage or commentary. This will reflect Nicola’s passion for standing up against injustice in the workplace and in the wider world through her writing.

Entrants can nominate themselves or be nominated. This award will go to the journalist whose submissions most effectively highlight injustices, curbs on freedom or other forms of discrimination; topics Nicola confronted in her life as a journalist.

In a career spanning over 40 years, Nicola won over 27 UK and Scottish press awards, mainly writing about social issues. She won Columnist of the Year while at The Press & Journal in three consecutive years. Nicola worked for almost all Scotland’s main newspapers, including the Edinburgh Evening News, The Scotsman, the Scottish Sunday Express, the Daily Record and The Press & Journal.

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